Reflecting on Five Years of Open Source Bridge

While Stumptown Syndicate is younger than Open Source Bridge, our annual open source technology conference, many of the same people have been involved in both efforts from their beginnings. As we celebrate our fifth Open Source Bridge, we reflect upon what we have learned so far.

Creating inclusive spaces enables attendees to focus on what matters.

When we feel welcome and safe, we create space to have all sorts of conversations that we wouldn’t be able to have otherwise. We’re able to talk about technology as well as culture and how the two are interrelated. We have the energy to focus on the things that brought us to Open Source Bridge, like wanting to learn a new programming language, or finding out about tools and techniques that will help us do our jobs.

Inclusion is in the details: food, t-shirts, social activities, and more.

The details matter. Over the last 5 years, in response to attendee feedback, we’ve learned that the following ensures everyone feels welcome and is able to participate:

  • enacting a comprehensive Code of Conduct
  • providing food everyone can eat
  • hosting social events where the focus is not on alcohol
  • creating areas of respite away from high-energy social interaction
  • providing event t-shirts in a full range of fits and sizes

And we’re constantly learning and applying more by listening to our community.

Positive change in our community is carried forward.

What we do enables others to go out and use these tools in their own communities, events, and workspaces. Open Source Bridge attendees take what they’ve learned from our event, and they apply this knowledge elsewhere. Our efforts help minorities and allies make the case for the things they need in order to participate everywhere.

The end result is that a more diverse set of people are able to join and contribute, and even people who contributed before have a better experience. We’re still learning and improving, but this is the practice that matters to us, and we’re excited to continue in the future.

We end every conference with a wrap-up and feedback session, where we solicit feedback that shapes future conferences. If you have thoughts on our five years of Open Source Bridge, please share them in the comments!

One thought on “Reflecting on Five Years of Open Source Bridge

  1. Audrey, OSB has been/is a great experience. Thanks to the team, the volunteers, and the participants for building such a vibrant, exciting, inclusive community.

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